Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying on Tuesday defended the appointment of a former police chief as chairman of an advisory board on country parks.
Leung was responding to concerns raised over whether former police commissioner Tang King-sing has the necessary qualifications to be chariman of the board. Environmentalists say Tang lacks experience in nature conversation.
In response to the concerns, Leung said he believed Tang could express a balanced view in Hong Kong's long-term interest as other board members did.
“We do not just consider the background of individuals, but also the overall representativeness of the board,” Leung said before attending an Executive Council meeting.
He also said that as the value of country parks were not just measured in terms of conversation the board needed people with different backgrounds.
Tang was appointed to a two-year term effective on September 1, according to the Agricultural, Fisheries and Conservation Department.
The country park board advises the conservation department on its policy and programmes relating to country parks, special areas, marine parks and marine reserves.
Tang’s appointment was thrust into the spotlight after Secretary for Development Paul Chan Mo-po floated the idea of building residential flats in country parks created a heated debate in the city.
Tang responded to environmentalists’ concerns by saying that in addition to having served on the board as a member for two years, he hiked often and could give the board a user’s point of view.
He also said that he saw the job of chairman as being able to listen to different views from various community sectors and deal with them impartially.
Earlier on Tuesday, former Hong Kong observatory director Lam Chiu-ying has likened the idea of building flats in country parks to a cancer cell, something that should never be encouraged.